There was a reunion of sorts Thursday at New Hampshire. Steve Park was back behind the wheel of the Brady Bunch #00 car - a ride that he has a past in, but before he became known to the national racing community as a big league NASCAR driver.
Park was very grateful for the chance to return to his roots and excited to be back in the car.
“I spend years dreaming of the opportunity to come back and get into a Modified at New Hampshire,” said Park. “I’ve talked about it for years, but being in a Cup car didn’t allow me to race other division. Now that I’m racing a truck, I got permission from (team owner) Mr. Gaughan and Dodge and I’m back here.”
Even with all of the racing that he has done in various divisions, there is a special place in Park’s heart for the Mods.
“The Modified racing here is the best racing in New Hampshire,” said Park. “I’ve raced everything from Busch to Cup to Trucks and whenever I’m here, I still find myself on top of the truck watching the Modified race. I’m glad to be a part of it again.”
The #00 that Park is driving will start Friday’s race in the 19th position.
SECOND HILLBILLY CAR ENTERS NHIS WTH A NEW DRIVER
NEW HAMPSHIRE MOD MUTTER by Mike Twist
It's the Same Story for Qualifying and a NASCAR Star Returns Home
ANOTHER NHIS POLE FOR CHRISTOPHER
The NASCAR Featherlite Modified Series rolled into the New Hampshire International Speedway for the second time this season on Thursday. Teams practiced and qualified for Friday afternoon’s 100-lap race.
Earlier in the season, Fred Vortermeier was driving the #97 Modified as the Hillbilly Racing teammate to Eddie Flemke. The deal in the car was a part-time one and Vortermeier entered his own family’s car for several events during the summer with the intent of returning to the #97 later in the season.
That did not materialize though as Vortermeier was back in his family’s #04 at New Hampshire and the #97 was entered with SMART Modified driver Brian Lofton as the driver. Ironically, the two went back to back in the qualifying order.
The class of the field on Friday was not really a surprise. When the tour came to New Hampshire in July, it was a Ted Christopher show. He won the pole position and held off his brother Mike to win the race. This race weekend is starting out the same way. Christopher led the division in practice and backed that up by winning the pole for the main event. He will be joined on the front row by Mod veteran Reggie Ruggiero.
Rounding out the top five in qualifying were Todd Szegedy, Tony Hirschman and Donny Lia.
TC was on top of the board again. (51 Photos)
“It’s a new car,” said Blewett. “We’re trying to work the bugs out of it and find some speed. We’re a little down on power because the motor is tired. We wanted to get some laps under our belt and this is more of a shake-down than anything else. It’s easier to come up and use it as a test than to go to the track and realize that you should have been testing.”
Current plans are to enter this car in the annual North-South Shootout at Concord Motorsports Park (NC) later this season with Blewett’s brother, Jimmy, behind the wheel.
Fred Vortermeier's past ride was literally in his rear view mirror for qualifying at NHIS.
Both drivers made the race with Vortermeier getting the bragging rights on the basis of a 22nd place run. Lofton ended up 29th in time trials.
ANOTHER CAR FOR BLEWETT
It would be understandable for John Blewett, III to forget what racecar he might be in on any given weekend. He started out the season in the Curt Chase #77, moved to the Sheba Racing #8 and even drove the #00 Brady Bunch car at Waterford. There was a new number for him to remember at New Hampshire. Blewett will start 25th behind the wheel of the #66 entry fielded by his family.
Blewett helps his team gets dialed in after qualifying.